Net penetrates more than half US households

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More than half of US households now have Internet access… and the attention span of cyberusers is lengthening, according to an Internet ratings report.

Fifty-six percent of the US population had Internet access from home in November, said Nielsen/Net Ratings, a New York cyberaudience measurement service - a jump from the 43% in the same month last year.

More than 153.8 million individuals had access in November, 2.8% more than in October, and 30% more than the 118.4 million in November 1999. At work, 39.2 million have Internet access, 1.8% more than in October.

“Despite the intense focus on the downturn among dot-coms, the web is continuing to cross the mainstream threshold,” said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services at NetRatings. “More people are coming online, enabling them to do old tasks with new efficiency - such as sending electronic greetings.”

The number of web page views each month went up 32% this past year, indicating people are viewing more in-depth content on a site.

“As web access continues to soar, traditional companies that were slow to come online are finding new cross-media opportunities to reach the mass consumer,” Weiner said. “Consumers can expect to receive advertising messaging not only via radio or television, but to find branding reinforcement online, creating an overall, efficient marketing vehicle.”

America Online and its sites was the most popular Internet property, followed by Yahoo, MSN, Microsoft and [email protected]. For example, 70.1 million home and work web users visited at least one of the AOL sites during November and each person spent an average of 44 minutes at the site.

But Yahoo, the No2 site, kept users busy for longer than any other of the top 20 destinations, including leader AOL. Yahoo had 65.9 million users, who spent an average of 97 minutes at the site.

Cybercitizens surfed the Internet fewer times in November than October, but their attention span lengthened. Web users logged on for an average of 18 sessions at home, 5.3% less than October, and 40 sessions at work, 7% less than the previous month. The US Thanksgiving holiday may have been a factor.

Users visited the same number of sites from home, but fewer from work. But they surfed and stayed at a page for slightly longer in November than in October.

The top advertiser, ranked by banner impressions, was TRUSTe, the privacy seal organization, with 2.6 billion impressions and a reach of 36.9%. An impression is counted each time an ad banner is fully loaded onto a user’s screen. Microsoft was second, with 1.9 billion impressions and a 56% reach.

The banner ad with the broadest reach percentage viewed at home and work was for Bonzi Software, which ran the creative tag, “Warning: Your Internet connection is not optimized”.

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